Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sauteed Lemon Chicken with Pesto White Beans

Got Pesto?   If so, you're going to be feeling pretty awesome at this moment because this menu is super-quick and you can skip right past the next few paragraphs to the recipe.

If not, with tomato season almost here - translating into basil season also - it's time to make some.  

Basil is a summer garden essential that's fairly difficult to kill.  Try growing it even if you feel like a "black thumb".  Especially if you've got a Trader Joe's nearby, skip the packaged basil and buy a basil plant.  For the same price as a 4 oz box of picked basil, you can buy a hearty and mature plant that will give you the same amount of pick-it-yourself basil as well as replenshing your supply within a week or two.  Just make sure to not cut off all the small leaves.  (Cut above any cluster of 3 or more leaves)  Short of Trader Joe's super good deal on basil plants, you can certainly buy the pre-picked boxes of basil at any grocery store or go to a good nursery and buy a healthy looking plant.  (I'm not an awesome gardener, so I'll let the Desperate Gardener give you the scoop on how to plant and take care of your new baby.)

Once you've got the basil, it's a breeze.  Walnuts or pine nuts (the gold standard, especially now at $20 a lb), olive oil, garlic and parmesan cheese complete the picture.  It freezes very well.  You can freeze small amounts in ice cube trays or use 1/2 cup bowls for the perfect side pasta dish amount.  Another alternative is to freeze it in a larger container covered with a layer of olive oil and just spoon off the amount you need then place back in freezer.  Download my "Rock Star" recipe collection for an easy recipe for pesto along with tons of other recipes for tapenades, marinades and other freezable condiments.

Pesto - Check!

CWYG Stats

Veggie Box Items - asparagus (side dish)
CWYG List Items - chicken breasts, white beans, lemon, olive oil, white wine, salt and pepper, pesto (additional ingredients are:  basil, parmesan cheese, walnuts, garlic)

Sauteed Lemon Chicken with Pesto White Beans
NOTES:  You want the chicken to be thin for this recipe.  Since part of CWYG is not buying recipe-specific items, just use the boneless-skinless chicken breasts and either partially freeze them (if you've just purchased them and they're not frozen) or partially thaw them if they're frozen.  Having them partially frozen is the secret to being able to cut them correctly and safely.  Cut each breast in half horizontally at the point where it becomes significantly thicker.  You'll have a pointed, almost triangle section and a rounded rectangle section from each chicken breast.  For the triangle sections, carefully slide a knife parallel to the counter through the thickest part to cut it into two cutlets.  For the rounded rectangle sections, do the same thing, but if they are very thick, you may want to make them into three cutlets each. 

I served this with asparagus since it's still in season, but you can serve this with any grilled or roasted veggie or a salad.

1 can or 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans, drained well
1/2 cup pesto
1 lb chicken breasts, cut as in "Notes" above
kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp cold butter
Grilled or Roasted seasonal veggies or a salad to serve

Toss white beans with the pesto in a small bowl.  Taste and season with salt or even a little lemon juice to brighten the flavor.

Sprinkle one side of the chicken cutlets with kosher salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet until butter starts to slightly brown.  Add chicken seasoning side down in a single layer with at least 1" space between each cutlet.  Brown for 3 minutes then turn.  Cook the other side for 2 minutes.  Remove from pan and keep warm.

Add white wine and lemon juice to pan and cook for a couple of minutes until the liquid is reduced by half.  Turn off heat and stir in butter to emulsify.  

Serve chicken on top of pesto beans and drizzle with sauce.

Copyright 2011 Christi Flaherty, TablaVie Cooking Classes

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Copyright 2012 TablaVie Personal Chef Service

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